Policy on Staff Use of Library Technology
The Brooks Free Library provides computers, software, mobile devices, ereaders, andother technology resources to support its public mission. These resources are intended for library-related purposes, including direct and indirect support of the Library’s service mission, administrative functions, library activities, and the exchange of ideas within the staff, Town departments and the community as well as the larger library community. This policy applies to the use of Library technology resources in the building itself and from remote locations by staff members and volunteers.
Staff members are expected to be proficient in the use of technology and to maintain appropriate skills in the use of the Integrated Library System, the Library’s digital and electronic resources, the assistive listening system, the Internet, wireless access, email, word processing, spreadsheets, and other appropriate software and hardware. Use of this technology constitutes acknowledgement of the Library’s right to monitor and inspect such use. Staff members and volunteers should have no expectation of privacy when using Library technology except as described below regarding the confidentiality of patron records. Staff members and volunteers who violate this policy may be denied access to Library technology and may be subject to penalties and disciplinary action, both within and outside the Library. The Library may temporarily suspend, block, or restrict access to an account, device, or workstation, independent of such procedures, when it reasonably appears necessary to protect the integrity, security, or functionality of Library technology or to protect the Library from liability. Suspected violations of law may be referred to appropriate law enforcement agencies.
Personal use of Library technology should be incidental and limited, and not interfere with Library operations. Staff members and volunteers are prohibited from using Library technology for personal or commercial gain, to promote a political or religious point of view, for the business purposes of other organizations, for illegal activities, to access or share sexually explicit, obscene, or otherwise inappropriate materials, for online gambling sites, for threatening or harassing behavior, to gain or attempt to gain unauthorized access to any computer, network, email or other online account, to intercept communications intended for others, to misrepresent the Brooks Free Library or a person's role at the library, to libel or otherwise defame any person, or for non-work related game playing during work hours. Staff members and volunteers may not represent themselves with an on-line presence associated with the Brooks Free Library without the permission of the Library Director. When permission is given, content must be appropriate and professional and not include personal information or opinions that conflict with the official library positions or policies or discredit the Library’s public image. Please refer to the Brooks Free Library Social Media Policy for guidelines on the use of social media. Staff members and volunteers may use the Library’s public technology resources on their own time under the same conditions as other members of the public.
Staff and volunteers are expected to use Library technology in an appropriate manner, in compliance with established policies and procedures, and are prohibited from using their authorized access to perform functions they have not been authorized to perform. Staff members and volunteers are expected to use reasonable judgment in interpreting this policy and in making decisions about the use of technology resources. Questions regarding appropriate use of technology should be directed to the Library Director.
Copyright Protection and Software Licensing
Computer programs and other electronic works are valuable intellectual property. Legal protections exist for information published online, such as text, graphics, pictures, and video and audio recordings. Staff members and volunteers must respect intellectual property rights and obtain permission from the copyright holder before copying, storing, displaying, or distributing copyrighted material. Using protected works in a public setting is prohibited unless public performance rights have been secured. Library staff members and volunteers are prohibited from making or using illegal copies of commercial software, from installing copies of software on multiple computers in violation of licensing agreements, or providing copies of licensed software to patrons in violation of licensing agreements.
Email and Open Meeting Law
Caution must be used when communicating with members of the Board of Trustees by email on issues within their jurisdiction or on matters scheduled before them to avoid unintentionally violating the Open Meeting Law (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 39, Section 23A). All matters resulting in a decision of a public body must be done at a duly posted meeting of that body. Communication via email by members on issues to be voted on has been determined by various county district attorneys’ offices as a violation of the Open Meeting Law. Repeated instances place the Board of Trustees at risk of being fined by District Attorney’s Office.
Public Records Requirements of Electronic Records
Certain documents, whether in electronic or paper format, depending on the substance and content of the record, may be deemed a public document. The Massachusetts Office of the Secretary of State has ruled (with the concurrence of the Attorney General’s Office) that certain email correspondence are public documents in accordance with the definition of a "Public Record” as identified in Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 4, Section 7, and Chapter 66, Section 10. In almost every instance, communication involving a matter pending before a deliberative body is a public document that must be produced upon request. Repeated instances of failing to save email or electronic records on substantive matters incur the risk of violating the Public Records Laws of Massachusetts and possible fines by District Attorney’s Office.
Privacy and Confidentiality:
In a library, the right to privacy is the right to open inquiry without having the subject of one’s interest examined or scrutinized by others. Confidentiality exists when a library is in possession of personally identifiable information about users and keeps that information private on their behalf. The Library recognizes the confidentiality of patron registration and circulation records in accordance with Massachusetts General Law Chapter 78, Section 7, which states "That part of the records of a public library which reveals the identity and intellectual pursuits of a person using such library shall not be a public record.”
Staff members and volunteers will regularly have access to confidential information such as the identity of individuals using the Library, their personal information and intellectual pursuits. Under no circumstances may staff or volunteers disseminate confidential information except when necessary for conducting library business. Procedures for responding to law enforcement inquiries concerning confidential information on the identity of public computer users and their intellectual pursuits is established in the "Brooks Free Library Policy and Procedures in Response to the USA Patriot Act of 2001,” approved by the Board of Trustees on July 12, 2006.
Management of Technology Resources Provided for the Public:
The Appropriate Use Policy approved by the Board of Trustees governs use of Library technology resources provided for public use. The Library Director will establish supplemental procedures for managing patrons’ use of computers. Staff members are responsible for managing the use of public computers and technology resources and for enforcing compliance with established policies and library procedures.
Updated and Approved by Brooks Free Library Board of Trustees May 13, 2015